5 Fun Ways to Get Fit for Free While Living Abroad

get fit for free, expat lifestyle, staying healthy, living abroad

One of my biggest frustrations when I first moved to Shanghai was finding ways to stay in shape on a budget.

I was in quite a bit of debt my first few months in Shanghai. I certainly couldn’t afford to spend any extra on a gym membership or expensive fitness classes, and I could no longer go to Planet Fitness 3+ days a week for only $10 a month. Not getting my work out in made dealing with all the other adaptations of a new life in Shanghai harder to manage.

Staying fit in Shanghai was simply not affordable for me at the time, and now that I can afford it, I don’t want to spend that kind of money on it.

If you’re living somewhere that gyms and classes are really expensive or inconvenient to get to (also Shanghai if you live where I live), or just can’t swing the extra money right now, here are some ideas so you can get fit on a budget!

Free Fitness, Health on a Budget, Let Passion Unfold, Expat Life, Expat Struggles

+ Take advantage of YouTube, Pinterest, and blogs about at home workouts.

This is what I did to begin with and continue to do now. I’m a big fan of blogilates. I always feel so great after a blogilates work out. Cassey is full of positive energy! Doing her workouts in the morning always puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day. There are loads of resources on the internet for free, but hers are the ones I’ve felt most motivated to stick with.

+ Get a group together to workout before work -or any time really.

Having a group is never a bad idea. It’s great motivation (and guilt when you don’t follow through). Last year a group of us would meet up everyday, take some workout videos out to the track on our school’s campus, and go hard in the morning before getting ready for work. We all had our own DVDs, downloaded videos, and printable workout routines that we could choose from. We mostly did Jillian Michaels but would occasionally switch it up for other resources we had to keep things fresh! This was so much fun!

+ Walk or bike from place to place.

I noticed a big difference in my health and happiness when I began walking more frequently. Take the 20 minute walk to the metro instead of waiting for the bus.  See if your city has a bike share program or get your own. It’s such a little change, yet it makes a drastic difference!

+ Create your own class.

If you or someone you know is skilled in a certain type of fitness, create a class with your friends. I’ve had a friend do yoga for a small group and know people at work who have led Zumba classes. It’s a super fun and free way to work out, plus you’re with friends!

+ Become a runner.

This is something I need to be better at. If you’re a runner, you can do that anywhere. You don’t need equipment, a room, or anything really. Just your body, some good tunes, and a determined attitude. In Shanghai, it’s important to have a good mask to protect you from the pollution. I use the iD Mask. It’s super comfortable and effective, great for outdoor fitness in the smog!

These are my favorite ways to stay in shape without spending much money, if any at all.

I’m always looking for new ideas to stay active without spending. What are your favorite free fitness tips?


2 Responses to 5 Fun Ways to Get Fit for Free While Living Abroad

  1. Love this post! Honestly the biggest thing that has helped me is using my FitBit. I love our challenges!

    • Tara says:

      YES! My Fitbit has helped me a lot, too. I love it! I was going to add it to the post but realized a Fitbit isn’t exactly budget friendly, though it is well-worth the money!